Residents warned to expect 5% tax rise
ROCHDALE residents could see their council tax bills rise by around 5 per cent next year, according to a town hall report.
Full details are not scheduled for release until a budget-setting meeting in February, but officers have included a set of likely proposals as part of financial preparation works for 2019/20. They could see some households facing hikes of more than £90 a year.
With the council facing a funding gap of £3.5m, leader Allen Brett has confirmed the ‘general levy’ element of the bill will rise by 2.99pc – the maximum allowed without calling a local referendum.
And the ring-fenced adult social care precept will also rise by 1pc – the most the council can increase it by without going over the 6pc-overthree-years limit set by the government in 2017/18.
For planning purposes, Rochdale Council is anticipating the Mayoral General Precept could be hiked by a maximum of £8 on band D properties.
The Mayor’s office is yet to put forward its proposals, which will have to go out for a period of public consultation.
But should they opt for the measures set out above, those in Band D properties – valued at between £68,001 and £88,000 – will pay an extra £92.70 per year.
Coun Brett says the increases are essential for the council to set a balanced budget.
Highlighting that the town hall has had to absorb £178m in funding cuts since 2009, Coun Brett said: “Nobody likes increases in charges, but I would say to people the government has taken away hundreds of millions from our budget, if you had that taken away, would you be able to balance the books? The answer is ‘no’.”
He added: “A 1pc rise in Rochdale raises £6,000 whereas in the leafy suburbs of Manchester it raises £8,000 or £9,000.”
Conservative leader Coun Ashley Dearnley said it was a question of balancing the need to fund services and people’s ability to pay, adding: “We need to get more money in to provide services, and none of us want to see the government putting up income tax. But we should not always think we can go right to the limits the government allows us to.”
He said the 2.99pc increase and adult social care precepts were probably fair, but felt the public needed to see results for any increase in the policing precept.
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